Periodontitis is a group of conditions. All of them involve inflammation of the gums and other structures that support the teeth. This disease often starts as gingivitis.
Patients with progressing periodontal problems might observe that the teeth become loose. Pockets form between the teeth and gums. These pockets are places where more bacteria grow. If this problem is not treated immediately, your teeth can become loose and worse, it migh fall out.
Older adults, people with diabetes and those who smoke are much more likely to get periodontitis. Smoking may increase the damage to the tissues supporting your teeth.
What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
Patients with periodontitis might observe the ff symptoms:
- Reddened to swollen or sometimes bleeding gum
- Loose Teeth
- Receding gums
- Halitosis or Bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
Many people do not know that these symptoms can be signs of a problem.
Using a dental probe, your dentist might examine your gums. If you have periodontitis, the probe will go deeper between your teeth and gums than it normally would.
Your dentist may also check if your teeth are becoming loose. It is normal that the teeth can be moved slightly even in people who don’t have periodontis. But the teeth may be much looser than normal in people with periodontitis. The teeth becomes loose because the bones and the fibers supporting the teeth is already damaged.
Your dentist may also order X-rays to check if the bone has already changed.
Periodontitis cannot be completely reversed. Sometimes the damaged fibers and bone will regrow. But most of the time, they will not.
That is why treating the disease during the early stage is important to prevent more damage. It also will improve the health of your mouth and teeth.
It is very important to see your dentist regularly to prevent this problem. Brushing your teeth twice a day will also make your gums healthy. You also have to limit or stop smoking because it is a factor that could cause periodontal problems.
The treatment you need depends on how serious your periodontitis is. Dentists classify the disease as mild, moderate or severe.
Mild periodontitis is usually treated with a cleaning called scaling and root planing. Scaling removes plaque and tartar from your teeth. Scaling cleans the teeth above and below the gum line. Root planing smooths the roots, making it harder for bacteria to stick there and grow. Combined with at-home brushing and flossing, this special cleaning often is enough to cure periodontitis.
Moderate periodontitis may require more than scaling and root planing. You also may need surgery. Some surgeries reshape your gums to better fit your teeth. Others try to regrow bone that was destroyed.
Severe periodontitis usually requires surgery. Sometimes, you also need antibiotics. Treatment may also include removal of teeth that can’t be saved.
Anyone with periodontitis must brush thoroughly at least once a day and clean the spaces between the teeth with special small brushes or dental floss.
When To Call a Professional
Call your dentist if your gums bleed or swell, or if you notice that your teeth are loose.
The best course of action is to get regular dental checkups. During these checkups, your dentist can make sure your gums and teeth are healthy.
The outlook is better if periodontitis is diagnosed before it gets serious. Once you start to lose bone, the outlook worsens. It is important for smokers and people who use smokeless tobacco to find a way to quit. Treatment doesn’t work as well in tobacco users.
Once your periodontitis is under control, regular brushing and flossing is still important. You also should keep visiting your dentist for checkups.